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Posts Tagged ‘communicate’

Relationships of all kinds are often perceived as very delicate things, that require extra effort to maintain. However, a relationship can also be something that can provide security and can also be long lasting despite many trials.

Building an effective and lasting relationships is a necessity for several reasons. For example in a group or organization, the well being of the people depends on how efficient and effective that group or organization works.

The group or organization is also dependent on how the members work well with the management.

An ineffective group or organization can really be very frustrating.  An effective group or organization can also ask so much on their members, that sometimes the members would be having no life outside the walls of the area where they work or sacrifice the other aspects of their life just to meet deadlines. For an organization or group with this kind of scenario, relationships can be stressed or suffer from breakdown.

People or other entities who depend on these groups or organization also suffer.

Society is defined as a web of relationships, which requires all parties to work and contribute their share in order to achieve  a common goal. Having a relationship that is good, where cooperation and respect are manifested, can make society work better. In this way each member works for the good of the whole and towards achieving a common goal. This can only be attained with effective and efficient relationships.

Understanding the other parties’ feeling and position creates an effective and efficient relationship. The easiest method to understand what is important to another party is to ask them what they want and listen to what they have to say. When the other party realizes this, they would feel the importance given to them

Effective and efficient relationships require parties to openly express their feelings and positions on all matters pertinent on the relationship. Assuming that the other party understands our needs and give us when we need it without asking for it is not a good practice.

Respect is the key to relationship. In order to create a more effective relationship, parties should treat each other with respect.  We can show respect just by listening to the other party and by trying sincerely to understand how they function. You can also show respect to other parties by confirming that they are doing everything they can.

The opposite of respect is quick forming of judgments based on unfounded facts and prejudice.

Respect is the very foundation for a great relationship. This also means respecting yourself and respecting others.

Another key area in forming an effective relationship is to tackle differences of the other party directly. Differences between parties or people are quite interesting. For example in a conversation where each party listens to the other party, you may observe that each is having two different perspectives.

Work towards a win-win solution for both parties.

This can be done when at least one party acknowledges that the relationship is important. That party would then exert more time, effort and energy to understand the other party’s needs and deal with it to get it out of the way. Should they fail, it is comforting for that party to know that they tried.

Effectively listening and no pre-judging. This is important if parties are to understand each other.

Informal discussions are conducive for parties. They bring out issues and concerns comfortably. They also feel more relaxed making them think more clearly.

Developing an atmosphere where the other party can express their feelings when they need to.

When parties fail to express whatever is on their mind or their feelings, it can get in the way of building an effective relationship.

Parties should be aware that certain things exist naturally but should be controlled in any dealings in any relationship.  Human nature is one. Some of these things found in a relationship also include a history of stereotyping or mistrust, blaming the other person or party for a strained relationship, excluding the other party’s feelings when focusing on a task, no clear and defined objectives, roles and expectations of each party in a relationship is also unclear.

Relationships are important to anyone, addressing issues and problems right away is a must to further improve the relationship. As they say ‘No man is an Island’.

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When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen. Ernest Hemingway

45 year old Judy revealed in an anger management class that she was constantly angry at her husband.  When asked why, she revealed that the fact that she has a home based business that she is building has always conflicted with her on whether to spend time with her husband or to create a better quality of  life for the family.

She loved her husband but she also enjoyed what she was doing to contribute to the family. She felt he was create a better quality of life, more money and more time. However she resented her husband becoming more demanding and upset when she spent needed time with her business instead of being with him.

Judy revealed that she dealt with the situation by ignoring her husband when he expressed displeasure – with disastrous results. These included constant bickering and tension in the home as well as emotional distance from each other.

How much better the outcome would have been had Judy used basic skills of assertive communication.

What is assertive communication?

It is a way to communicate to your friends, your team and to your family your rights, feelings and needs- but in a good way. It is a method of letting peopel know where you stand on things and what your limits and boundaries are.

Assertive communication allows you to clarify communication and stand up for yourself without making things worse or getting a negative result or response from your team and loved ones.

Four Steps to Assertive Communication:

Step 1- Send clear messages

Turns out Judy had never clearly told her husband how she felt when he put pressure on her to spend time with him instead of her buisness. When she did discuss it, she hemmed, hawed and stammered with almost no eye contact.

As a result her husband was not getting a clear message. To communicate clearly, look at your posture and your facial expressions, as well as your hand and arm movements. Pay special attention to your tone of voice which can say volumes beyond your words. Research shows that Only 7% is conveyed in the words we use. 38% is conveyed in the voice, it’s quality, use of tone and inflections and 55% of communication is conveyed by the body language we use, i.e.; Use of eye contact, gestures and facial expressions.

Step 2 – Learn how to listen

Assertive people have developed their listening skills. While hearing is done with your ears, true listening is done with your heart. To be a better communicator, start by becoming a better listener. God has created us with one mouth but 2 ears and 2 eyes. That is what i calla clue! it is better to listen and see then it is to talk. Listen with your heart feel the emotions of others.

Much silence makes a powerful noise. proverb

Step 3 – Start the conversation with “I feel” rather than “you should.”

Words have tremendous power to determine how other people experience us, and how they respond to an issue. For this reason, people with good assertive communication skills focus on the problem behavior (and not the character of the person), stick to the point, don’t use labels, and make “I” statements rather than “you” statements.

Judy tried this with her husband and it worked very well.  Here is what she said: “Honey, I love you and want to be with you, but I also want to work to help contribute to the family. Could you get along without me for a hour or two a night? I’ll try to always be done by 8:30 PM.”

The best time to hold your tongue is the time you feel you must say something or bust. Josh Billings

Step 4 – Acknowledge your part in the conflict or issue

Anger is often an escalating process, involving two people who create a negative feeling in each other, sometimes instantly and sometimes over a long period of time.

It is natural to blame another family member entirely for the problem, especially when we are angry or in a defensive mode.

But, once we return to normal, the assertive communicator is able to accept some of the responsibility for the conflict. This acceptance and acknowledgement of your contribution to the problem is an indication of emotional maturity and can create an entirely different atmosphere between conflicting issues.

Try saying the following things to promote communication:

– My reactions were too extreme. I’m sorry. – Even though I still feel I was right about the issue, my reaction wasn’t right and I apologize. – I never thought of things that way. – Let me start again in a different way. – I can see my part in all this.

To Judy’s delight, when she practiced saying some of these things to her husband in a loving way, he began changing too. Almost immediately, he became less demanding, more understanding, and more aligned with her so both of them could work the buisness together.

Listening is an attitude of the heart, a genuine desire to be with another which both attracts and heals. J. Isham

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Your journey to unleashing your leadership potential begins with a great understanding of self. Discover your personality traits and how they relate to leadership.

An Exceptional Leader is one that recognizes the value of harnessing the qualities, skills and abilities of themselves and team members. When we know ourselves, we can maximize our positive traits, and become aware of our weaker areas, which help us to achieve our leadership potential. Once you understand and know yourself, next you must hone your skills. Only then can one lead their teams toward greatness.

Remember a leader is not a title and leadership is not something you are born into. Leadership is something you develop.

In order to be a great leader, one must possess various qualities, skills and abilities that will attract followers. The following qualities are just of few of the many qualities that are vital for effective leadership:

1. Charisma- charismatic leaders have the gift to touch people through their choice of words. Charismatic leaders are alluring, charming and can encourage followers to support a grand vision or idea.

2. Positive Attitude – A leader who has a positive attitude will influence his/her followers to carry that same attitude. A good example of a leader with a positive attitude could be a parent or teacher.

Mothers, fathers, or elementary teachers appear and are viewed as role models to the young children they are teaching and nurturing.

These role models are the first leaders they encounter in life. Children become very dependent of leaders because they are their vehicles to the outside world and provide much needed help and assistance.
If a parent is nurturing and loving to their child, they will thrive under this encouragement.

If a school teacher provides a positive learning experience to the child, they will succeed and that success will become contagious… In any circumstance, a leader’s positive attitude will have greater impact and influence on their followers.

3. Motivation – In an athletic world, a motivating leader could be a coach, trainer or even a fellow teammate. While the talent of players is a good determinant of a winning team, their coach is also an important factor.

If a coach can not produce a winning team, his job is at stake. A coach’s motivation involves infusing his players with high standards, and setting challenging but attainable goals as they perform well. Thus, his/her ability to motivate his players will enhance their performances.

Motivation also correlates with having a positive attitude. When a coach has a positive attitude and provides a positive environment for his players, then the team will most likely be motivated to move in his/her direction where ultimate success can be found.

4. Assertiveness – A leader has the responsibility to guide the direction of his or her company. When a leader is firm and assertive in delegating tasks to his subordinates, they will hold a greater respect to follow through on their assignments.

An assertive leader has the ability to convey enforcement without being too autocratic or threatening to their subordinates.

Furthermore, an assertive leader should not make his subordinates feel like they’re in a hostile environment. Instead, an assertive leader should respect his people, and require proper accountability at the same time. A leader’s assertiveness and confidence earns respect. With that respect, people are much more likely to follow, help, and emulate their leader to achieve success.

5. Communication –
This is  not limited to your public speaking skills either. This includes your writing style and your body language. Your ability to communicate effectively enhances your ability to improve interpersonal relationships.

6. Teaching and learning behaviors – This important skill is to learn how to learn. Examine different teaching methods and learning styles to identify how you and those you may lead learn best. This skill will greatly enhance your ability to make decisions and give clear instructions.

7. Self-improvement – Constent self-improvement is part of being a great leader. Self improvement and success go hand in hand to being a great leader. One must constantly strive to improve themselves and teach others to do the same. The reality is that throughout our lives we are all constantly growing and developing. Circumstances make us grow and develop, even if we do not make the conscious decision to do so.  I have never met someone with great wealth or great leadership that did not have some type of outstanding library in self-development.

Some believe that if only they had more money they could have whatever they want and be on their way to self improvement.  The reality is unless you are ready for leadership and great wealth you will not be able to handled it. A great example of this is looking at everyone that has won the lottery. All of them have acquired great wealth by chance  however over 90% of them are dead broke and have claimed bankruptcy.

If we are to learn anything from experience this is at the top of the list “Self Improvement” Teach your team the importance of self-improvement and how important it is to there success.

I believe that the qualities, skills and abilities above are a must to be a great “Do It First Leader“.

So I want to end with this, a quote which i believe says it all. This quote is by Dr. Ken Blanchard, from his book “The Heart of A Leader” ;

“If you want to know why your people are not performing well, step up to the mirror and take a peek.”

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Recently I was on Facebook trying to figure out what I was going to post to the world and I thought of five questions that I am asked often about leadership.bigstockphoto_Leadership_798680

This article gives a short answer to each of these important questions. Along with some of the response I got back from the world of Facebook.

 

What is a true Leader?

– A leader is a person who sees something that needs to be done, knows that they can help make it happen, and gets started.
– A leader sees opportunity and captures it.
– A leader sees a future that can be different and better, and helps others see that picture too.
– A leader knows they can’t do it alone.
– A leader is a coach.
– A leader is an encourager.
– A leader views change as their ally.
– A leader is willing to take risks today for something better tomorrow.
– A leader is a learner.
– A leader is a communicator.
– A leader is a coordinator.
– A leader is a listener.
– A leader takes a long view – letting their vision keep their daily steps on track.
– A leader is passionate.
– A leader motivates and inspires.
– A leader values results.
– A leader cares about more than results though; they care about those who are following there lead.
– A leader makes a difference in the lives of others.
– A leader is all of these things and much more.

If Your Actions Inspire Others To Dream More, Learn More, Do More, And Become More, You Are A Leader. “John Quincy Adams”

Are People Born Leaders?

FACEBOOK Friends — Yes in deed People are born Leaders and then they’re taught and conditioned to believe otherwise. John Di Lemme says “Champions are born Losers are made” “Sly Corley”

FACEBOOK Friends — Yup! I’ve never met a leader in the grave “Robin Viray”

FACEBOOK Friends — It Depends. Everyone is born with specific gifts and talents if being a leader is one , then that gift would need the right nourishing, training to help enhance the effectiveness. “Kevin Williams”

FACEBOOK Friends — No they are born and become leaders. Unless they are twins when one comes out they can look back and see he or she is being followed. They are a leader. “Justin Murphy”

FACEBOOK Friends — People are sheep. They follow. Mostly. What are we doing next, sir? “Mark Bock”

Sure they are – I mean everyone is born, right?

You might say that riddle-like answer misses the point. You say the real answer is that some people are truly born to lead. And I would reply that your common statement implies that others aren’t born to be leaders.

So let’s examine that difference of opinion…

When people describe someone as a “born leader” they typically mean that the person is motivating, a good communicator and charismatic. And it is true; some people are blessed at birth with more natural ability in these ways.

But leaders can be great with different innate characteristics as well.

And there is no single small skill set that defines the perfect leader or guarantees success. Everyone is born with a unique set of natural abilities. And all of us can develop skills and styles to complement those natural abilities.

Leaders Are Made; They Are Not Born. They Are Made By Hard Effort, Which Is The Price Which All Of Us Must Pay To Achieve Any Goal That Is Worthwhile . “Vincent Lombardi”

 

Who is a Leader?

FACEBOOK Friends — Everyone is a leader… it’s just that many people are not aware of it. If a person is the head of a family, you’re a leader. If you coach a sports team, you’re a leader. If a person is responsible for others, you’re a leader. leadership comes in many atmospheres and is handled differently for different situations but it is the knowledge and wisdom of GOD that makes leadership effective look at Solomon. I Am A Leader! “Kevin Williams”

FACEBOOK Friends — The leader is the one the others follow without question. “Rick Hoening”

FACEBOOK Friends — A person with the knowledge, integrity and vision to help others achieve their goals. “Steven Brokman”

FACEBOOK Friends — We all are leaders. If we haven’t realized our potential, we may think we’re not, but if you have ANY ability to influence, you’re a leader. So Mike, I’m a leader. “Brian Goodwin”

This question on the surface is the easiest question I’ve asked so far. After all, I’ve already given some examples.

People in certain roles are leaders, whether they’ve studied for the role, like a doctor, lawyer, teacher or minister… bigstockphoto_leadership_4888551got elected to the role, like a county councilman, mayor, Senator or President… or worked up the through the organization like a supervisor, manager, Vice President or CEO. You can ask most anyone the question “Who is a leader?” and those are the kinds of answers they will give you. They are right, of course. But they are only partially right. Leaders aren’t leaders because of a job title.

Leaders are leaders because they lead. This brings me back to the question above – “Are people born leaders?” Yes they are. But it isn’t just a few that have been hand picked by our Creator or random genetics.

We have all been picked – genetics has selected us all. We were all born to lead, in our own way. We may not be the Chairman of the Board. We may not be the person on the stage. We may not lead with oratory or flair. We may lead by compassion. We may lead by example.

We all can lead. We all have the ability to be remarkable leaders. Leadership isn’t about position. Leadership isn’t about power. Leadership is about potential – your potential.

 

What Makes A Great Leader?

FACEBOOK Friends — Someone who has the talent to connect with Others. “Wil Ogihara Gamboa”

FACEBOOK Friends — Humility + servant hood, vision + values “Robin Viray”

FACEBOOK Friends — Mike an employee has the Machete and is cutting the path through the forest. The manager is behind them making sure the blades are sharp. The leader is next to them at the top of the tallest tree making sure they are going the right direction. “Rick Silva”

FACEBOOK Friends — A leader establishes and clearly articulates the vision, thereby providing the model by which others can achieve it. The leader then supports the activity of others through reinforcement of the parameters of the vision to make sure everyone stays “on track”. “Kevin Bunn”

FACEBOOK Friends — I like honesty, integrity, and responsibility in a leader. If they know how they tell you; if they don’t they have the courage to admit it. It is pretty simple isn’t it. “Hg Smith”

A great cloud of jargon, debate, and junk theory surrounds the idea of leadership, what it is, who does it, and how to do it well. But if you have just been promoted, and you’re responsible for a group for the first time, there are only a few things you really need to know about leadership.

When you decide to play the role or become responsible for the performance of a group you become a leader. But you don’t undergo some magical change. In fact, it will probably take you over a year to completely adjust to your new role.

You’re a leader because the people in your group treat you like one. The only choice you have is what kind of leader you’ll be.

I believe that leadership is built out of a combination of strategy and great character. However If I was to choose which one you should be without I would have to say that strategy would be the one to be with out.

Before You Can Inspire With Emotion, You Must Be Swamped With It Yourself.

Before You Can Move Their Tears, Your Own Must Flow.

To Convince Them, You Must Yourself Believe.

“Sir Winston Churchill”

When you become a leader your power actually goes down. As an individual contributor, you just have to decide to work harder, longer or smarter to improve performance. When you’re responsible for the performance of a group, the group is your destiny. They choose whether to act or not.

When you become a leader, your influence goes up. The people who work for you pay attention to what you say and do. They adjust their behavior accordingly.

The result is that you use your behavior (what you say and do) to influence the behavior of the people who work for you to achieve a defined objective.

Leadership Is Practiced Not So Much In Words As In Attitude And In Actions. “Harold S. Geneen”

Achieving the objective is part of your job as a leader. The other part is caring for your people. It may be possible to achieve good short term results without caring for your people. But you can’t achieve long term success for you or your company without the willing cooperation of the best folks you can find.

At the end of the day, you can measure your leadership based on those two standards. Did we accomplish what we have set out to do? Are the members of my group better off today than yesterday?

The Real Leader Has No Need To Lead – He Is Content To Point The Way. “Henry Miller”

Why Does Leadership Matter?

FACEBOOK Friends — Leadership Makes Champions! “Fari Shields”

FACEBOOK Friends — Without leadership there is no one to follow, no one to learn from. With out a leader your team has no direction! “Justin Murphy”

FACEBOOK Friends — Leaders get the 1st pick “Peter Saparito”

FACEBOOK Friends — Without leaders, people perish “Robin Viray”

FACEBOOK Friends — A leader has been defined as one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way. “Sandra D Brokman”

Parents universally hope that their children develop leadership qualities. They know that leaders are people who are effective in what they do, are respected by others, and typically rewarded for those skills in a variety of ways. It is in these formative years that, through our parents, we first see leadership as desirable and important.

As young people we look up to people around us that motivate and listen to us; people that seem like “real-life” heroes. We consider these people leaders.

The Best Method For Estimating The Intelligence Of A Ruler Is To Look At The Men He Has Around Him. “Niccolo Machiavelli

As we grow we begin to relate leaders to their jobs – ministers, successful business owners, entrepreneurs, teachers, police officers. And later Mayors, Presidents, and CEO’s . . .

As adults all of these thoughts and experiences define why we think leaders have desirable traits and play roles we admire (and why we desire these things for our children).

All of these experiences and thoughts help us define why leadership matters – it matters because leaders make a difference and can shape the future. It matters because leaders are valued and valuable. In everyone’s mind leadership, especially when it is good, matters. It is better to have a lion at the head of an army of sheep than it is to have a sheep at the head of an army of lions.

Leadership Is Getting Someone To Do What They Don’t Want To Do To Achieve What They Want To Achieve. “Tom Landry”

 

Now the Big Question, WHAT ABOUT YOU?

My answers to the five questions above lead to only a question for you to answer…

Do YOU want to be a Leader?

Do YOU see YOURSELF as a Leader?

Do Others see YOU as a Leader?

Do YOU feel that you are a Leader?

Your opportunities for leadership are endless. The rewards are boundless.

When, Where or How Will YOU Lead?

I believe YOU are a leader. Claim it and believe this to be true, for it is. Stake your claim and make a difference in the world around you.

Start With The Premise That The Function Of Leadership Is To Produce More Leaders, Not More Followers. Ralph Nader

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People seem to have the misconception that only a select few are able to unleash a steady flow of creative genius. That creativityis not true at all. The fact is, creativity is very much like a muscle that needs to be exercised in order to consistently give out great results. If you don’t practice harnessing creative thinking, this skill will very much atrophy into inexistence. But keep working and this skill will soon come to you in a snap.

So how do you unleash your creative thinking? Well, the first thing is to become a human leech. No, I am not talking about just sucking the blood out of every living being available, I am saying that you should take in as much knowledge and learning you can find. Read everything available — good and bad, and keep your mind open to the infinite possibilities of the universe. The more you know, the more you’ll want to know, and the more your faculty of wonder will be exercised. Prepare to be amazed at little facts that add a bit of color into your life. 

Focus on a creative activity everyday. Yes, it’s an effort. Even doodling is a creative activity. Don’t let anything hinder you. Mindlessness may be a creative activity, but for people who are just starting out to unleash a little bit of creative thinking in their lives, it is helpful and encouraging to have concrete evidence, that, “hey, what I’m doing is getting somewhere.” So why don’t you try it. Practice drawing for a couple of minutes each day. Bring out your old camera and start snapping photos like crazy. Keep a journal and make a point to write in it religiously. Another cool idea is to write by describing something with your five senses. Try to avoid vague adjectives like “marvelous,” “amazing,” and “delicious.” Before you know it, you’ll have built yourself a tiny portfolio, and you’ll be amazed at the growth you’ve undertaken after amassing all those works of art. Who knows, you might actually take to liking those things you do everyday. Pretty soon those things will become a part of you and you’ll be addicted to these creative exercises.

Think out of the box — or don’t. Sometimes, constraints are actually a good thing. Limitations discipline you to work within your means. It enables you to be more resourceful. Creative freedom is great, but limitations enforce discipline.

Try something new everyday and let your experiences broaden your perspective. Explore a new district in your neighborhood. Spend an afternoon in a museum to which you’ve never been before. Chat up someone on the bus. Open up to the people around you. As you thrust yourself out of your comfort zone more and more each day, your sense of adventure grows and so does your zest for life. Think about it. When was the last time you did something for the first time? If it’s been a while, I tell you, you’ve been missing out on a whole lot of experiences that could’ve added to your growth, emotionally, mentally, physically, or spiritually. Why don’t you try bungee jumping today? Not only will you learn, but you will also have plenty of stories to share, enabling you to practice your storytelling skills and making you the life of the party.

Embrace insanity. No, not to the point of practically admitting yourself into the mental ward. As John Russell once said, “Sanity calms, but madness is more interesting.” Exactly! Every creative thought was once deemed insanity by other “normal” people at one time or another. Luckily, that didn’t stop the creative geniuses from standing by them. The thing is, sanity or being normal confines people to think… well, normally. Withink limits. Creativity is essentially breaking through barriers. Yes, this includes the bizzarre and the downright strange. I’m not saying that you yourself should develop a creative personality. That might go haywire. An example of a creative personality would be George Washington, who often rode into battle naked, or James Joyce, who wrote “Dubliners” with beetle juice for an intense fear of ink, or Albert Einstein, who thought his cat was a spy sent by his rival (or in thinking creatively in this case, the term could probably be “archnemesis.”) It’s important that your creativity doesn’t get you detached from the real world completely.

I hope this article has inspired you to start thinking beyond your “limits.” If you follow these steps pretty soon you’ll be living a life full of interesting adventures. Unleashing your creative thinking  will bring about a new zest for living life.

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Things change unpredictably in everyone’s world. There is no pattern to many of the changes in our world. Forecasting and long-range planning are high-risk activities. Today we cannot guarantee more of the same of anything. About the only prediction we can safely assume is that things will always change!

caose

 

In this “Age of Unreason,” to use Charles Handy’s term, we must learn to think upside-down, inside-out, and backwards in order to cope with this unpredictable environment. The business writer Tom Peters calls this ability: “Thriving on Chaos.” To succeed, you must do more than cope with change, you must capitalize on it! Every change is an opportunity in disguise. Since you can’t stop change, you must learn to take advantage of it. Here are three suggestions.

 

1. Keep a positive attitude toward change. Although not all changes are good, we do have the freedom to choose our attitude. Change, even when it is negative, can be an ally if you take advantage of it and use it for good

2. Never stop learning. Never think you know it all. Stay humble and you’ll be surprised who you can learn from—friends, neighbors, kids, employees, clients, business associates and competitors, etc.

3. Stay flexible! Before glass bottles were invented, wine was kept in canteens made of animal skins. As they aged, they’d become brittle and crack from new wine that was still fermenting.  Here was his point: When faced with change, we must adjust or we’ll explode!

These are some basic principals to help maintain the chaos in your world

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“We should choose to follow what is right. But first of all we must define among ourselves what is good” (Job 34:4 LB).

values

Everything you do is influenced by your values. Your actions in life are largely determined by the values you hold. Every time you make a decision, you’re relying on your values to tell you what to do.

Unfortunately, some of the values you operate by are counterproductive to your success and a hindrance to your satisfaction in life. You see, many of the unconscious values you live by are ones you didn’t choose; they were imposed on you by parents, peers, and the culture around you. (Today television is the #1 values shaper in our society.) You may be operating on incorrect information and values that don’t stand up under pressure.

Just like the set of the sail determines the direction of a sailboat, your values chart the course for your life. The question is: In what direction are your values leading you? Are they going to deliver what you hope or will you eventually be disappointed?

Here’s another fact about values: they cause a lot of your stress! Stress occurs when what you say you believe and what you actually do don’t line up. For instance:

• When you say, “My family is important to me,” but you’re always too busy or too tired to enjoy them.

• When you say, “I value my health,” but you overwork, overeat, and never exercise.

• When you say, “I’m not materialistic,” but you become so in debt you must worry constantly about finances.

When two of your values conflict, that’s called a dilemma. My experience is that these incongruent values are the #1 cause of emotional tension among believers. What’s the solution?

Identify what is really important in life. “We can choose the sounds we want to listen to; we can choose the taste we want in food, and we should choose to follow what is right. But first of all we must define among ourselves what is good” (Job 34:3–4 LB).

You need to come up with a personal definition of success, not someone else’s definition but your own. Remember this: “Success is the feeling I get when I live out my values.” It’s not a destination. You can be successful at any stage of your life, based on your own personal values and goals. Begin by making a list of what you value most in life. Ask yourself “What is going to last?”

Begin eliminating those things that really aren’t important. “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. “

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